Tuesday, August 28, 2007

United Religions of Benetton

We had a rough morning at the office. I mean rough, as in employees quitting without warning, infuriated CEOs raining hellfire and brimstone down upon our lowly department, rough. I honestly thought nothing could help me survive the day.

That is, until B., my illustrious co-manager, summoned me to her cubicle.

“We’re interviewing someone today,” she said, dropping her voice to a stage whisper. “And she’s Mormon.”

Granted, B. couldn’t know how happy this would make me (she doesn’t read my blog), but we had a lovely bonding moment over the religious diversity that thrives in our workplace.

“I think she’ll fit in well,” B. opined. “After all, E.’s Jewish, and J. is Eastern Orthodox, and you’re Pagan, and L. is Lutheran, and we all totally get along.” Then she paused, reflective. “If only we had a Baptist.”

“Oh hey, I’m Baptist!” announced another manager.

“And that’s great!” B. replied.

Above all else, that’s what I love about my job. The people I work with come from a wide variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, and through this, we’ve managed to create a truly safe space where differences in belief and practice are not just tolerated, but accepted, and sometimes downright encouraged.

Not what you normally expect from a company based on corporate sales, but there you go. And this brief ray of sunshine in my otherwise catastrophic day pretty much made me snap.

“Alright, everyone, listen up,” I said. “Who here does not ascribe to any particular organized faith?”

My loyal subordinates looked at each other, confused and concerned, and then a few people tentatively raised their hands. Sizing up the challenge in front of me, verily I went cubicle to cubicle, assigning religions.

“Let’s see. You’re Methodist now. And you’re Daoist. And you…” I stopped at my assistant’s desk and looked him over. “You’re Baha’i.”

He rolled his eyes at me. “For your information, I’m agnostic.”

“Oh, same difference.” I moved onto the next cubicle. “What are you?”

“Well, my mother says I live in sin.”

“Hmmm. Okay, you’re Episcopalian.”

Suddenly, one of my newest employees piped up: “Ooh, ooh! I worship the Devil!”

I raised an eyebrow: “Church of Satan or Temple of Set?”

She mulled over her options. “Never mind. I want to be Buddhist.”

And so it went. After a few minutes, everyone was happily settling into their new belief systems… except for B., who was growing increasingly skeptical.

“I think you’re just making these religions up,” she grumbled.

Whatever. She’s just pissed because she tried to call Muslim, but I’d already stuck her with Hellenic Reconstructionist.

7 comments:

Red Delicious said...

You started blogging again? I need to know these things.

Come see Night and Her Stars!

I say I say.

Evn said...

Geez, you're supposed to just know without me telling you...

georged@kmhs.org said...

With your permission I would like to re-post this on my blog and link.

Evn said...

You certainly may, with proper attribution.

Thanks!

george wesley said...

Thanks, Evn. I re-posted and linked.

http://bahaiviews.blogspot.com/2007/08/on-religious-diversity-in-workplace.html

Evn said...

Looks great! I love the graphic.

Thanks again!

Deborah said...

We have ten countries represented in my 40-or-so person office (because the Egyptian quit a month ago).

For religions, we have Pagan, Jewish, Israeli atheist (it's a particular streak, lemme tell ya), Hindu, Muslim, Mormon (HQ in SLC), and I'm not sure what else (I don't tend to sort the mainstream Christians).